I wonder why sometimes. Why wake up at the crack of dawn, get cold, get hot, get tired, get scared? Beyond maintaining some basic level of health and fitness, it’s hard to argue the necessity of a bike or skis or sports in general- especially when they gobble your paychecks and break your body, as mine tend to do.
It’s even harder when you’re out of shape- like last week, which found me mashing desperately on the pedals of a very nice but very unfamiliar bike. Inching my way up the trail at 11 weeks post-op, I had more than enough time to consider the dumbness of sports.
In 77 days I’d meditated, a lot. I’d taken my life down a notch (or three) and believe it or not I was content. I was never hungry, I slept regularly, and I’d watched what little strength I had leave me with a kind of amused detachment. This injury really taught me that being strong is truly not the most important way to be- and as I willed my body awake on the Colorado trail I still knew that.
I honestly wasn’t sure. My lungs were heaving. Sweat poured down my face. My bum hurt. I was uncomfortable! Decomposed granite skittered like kitty litter beneath my tires. So inefficient. So dumb. What good was this doing the world? What good was this doing ME?
But then the trail pointed down and it all came back. Forgotten was my bony, atrophied bird shoulder. Forgotten were my chapped ass and blistering palms- the only things that mattered were gravity, balance and speed. For the first time in three months I wasn’t earth-bound, plodding or cautious; I was flying. Rocks evaporated beneath my wheels. Trees blurred into green streaks. A maniacal giggle erupted out of my chest as the trail unfurled and just kept coming.
I don’t know why days like this are so fun. Maybe we have some biological need to engage our instincts and reactions, or maybe the simple rhythm of work and reward helps make sense of life. Or maybe the “why” of riding is kind of like gravity: you sound like a tool if you spend too much time explaining it. Suffice to say, objects roll downhill and it’s fun to go fast. Thank goodness for bikes.
Read about the steed here